At least that is what a couple of the country’s reporters would have you believe after this year’s budget was revealed.Yesterday was budget day and true to all of the predictions Bill English announced a zero budget.
It has clearly been signalled that the Government want New Zealand to be smoke-free by 2025 so it wasn’t a surprise that the budget included plans to raise the level of taxes on cigarettesHowever what was surprising, and also disheartening, was the reaction from some of the country’s television reporters.
In a show of incredible ignorance Barry Soper of Prime News stated during an interview with English that the Government’s plans to increase the tax on cigarettes by 10 per cent every year for the next four years would affect people that could least afford it because smokers are low-income earners.And then there was the interview with Hone Harawira in which he asked about affect the price rise would have on his constituency because all of his constituents are Maori and Maori are smokers. I didn’t catch the interview myself but my brother-in-law was outraged.
In his opinion the reporter may as well have said that Maori were all smoking dole-bludgers who were destined to end up in jail because that is the level of bigotry the comment showed.
Ok, so smoking is a habit that is prevalent in Maori and low-socio economic areas but that doesn’t mean that all smokers are poor Maori or that all Maori are smokers. I mean to make rash generalisations that smokers are poor Maori is, well, just ignorant and bigoted.
I gave up smoking when I was pregnant with my son, took it up again when I became a reporter and then gave it up again last week. It is a filthy disgusting habit but at the end of the day it comes down to personal choice.And there are many, of all races and income-brackets, that make the choice to spark up – it isn’t just Maori or the poor.
The fact that some of the country’s reporters can be so bigoted is disturbing. I once thought that those in the media were meant to be open-minded and fair but I am fast seeing that there is a lot of prejudice out there and I am starting to wonder if we still live in the 1950s.Thoughts?